Is a footy right for me?

First off I am hoping to get into RC sailing because my parents own a boat and will be moving it to San Fransisco CA which always is windy. I have had lots of RC things in the past but I hate waiting 3 hrs to get 20 min of fun. I like being able to go when I want to go, and sailing seems like that is a lot more assessable.

So in all my research of a nice RC sail boats, I have came up with the micro magic, and the 507 footy. I think im leaning toward the footy because there is limited space on my boat and the cost is cheaper than the micro magic.

I have watched a lot of videos and read a lot of web pages and it seem like even with good wind and with wind chop going along with the wind the footys still seem painfully slow. is this true? I know I sound like an impatient 16 year old but I dont want to invest a lot of money to have my little sail boat not be able to get in a wind and go like the bigger versions.

My last Question is about how much to the servos and radio cost. And am I able to use an old x-mods radio that I have from an old RC car.

I dont plan to do any racing I just want to get some fun sailing out on the bay.

Also If there are any other kits that are worth looking at please include.


I realize that space is a constraint…but Id also consider the victoria 100 bucks for the kit 50 for sail servo, and since you have all the other stuff its a wash. it breaks down easily. I have a 507. and I’m not unhappy with it…but footy’s are a different breed of boat…they handle different, its whole different ballgame, IMO…I have never seen/sailed the micro magic…just my thoughts…

footies do not make good beginners boats, IMHO. Get something a little bit bigger. Maybe an rg65 or something similar? Footies seem to need to be sailed constantly, while the larger boats seem to be able to sail themselves a little bit better. Also, footies aren’t really that fast, has to do with the waterline length. The victoria, or any one meter, like the etnz, would be good to start with. That’s what I started with, and I used to take my us1m on my parents boat all the time. They had a 35’ bertram.

what do you mean by sail servo? is that an add on for this boat?
and how does the Victoria handle winds around 15 mph?

how is this boat?

oh and how small do the bigger boats dismantle to?
cause like I said before, I have plenty of space to sail but not a lot of room to store.

Thanks so much

Same size (almost - it’s 1-1/2" longer) than an RG65 - which must be built and depending on free plans - can be really easy. Added PLUS of the RG65 is they are developmental, and are found in numbers all over being a 30 year old class. Use the search function on this forum and just look for RG65.

The class is just getting started here in the US - but if like in other countries, it won’t be long before they have a lot of boats sailing. If not a builder, visit their YAHOO forum and past a used boat wanted ad. Perhaps there are some that have been built and owner wants to upgrade to a new or different design.

The hull is 25-1/2 inches long. You can make the keel removeable, but it is only about 11 - 13 inches long. Mast is longest piece at around 43 inches, but you could even build that with a two-piece mast. Depending on skills asa model builder, $250 should easily get you a boat “with” radio gear. Servo is for hauling in sails, other servo for steering rudder. Your “surface” radios from cars will work so should save you $75-$80 and you can probably get away with the car steering servo for your rudder control. A GWS sail servo will run about $25 delivered. Fabric for sails can come from fabric shop (ripstop nylon) or even floral wrap. Lead bulb from Cabelas (fishing weight) and balsa will be most expensive item, no doubt.

Building your own can be fun, and will give you something no one else has - a boat built by YOU.

Good luck with your choice.

Enjoy your time on the bay with your real boat. Winds, currents and traffic will comsume your energy. When the wind blows, there are waves from 3 to 10 feet in the bay:scared not to mention the tide currents.
A good first sailboat I have found is either the 1/2 meter soling or the 1 meter soling by a company in Southern Californa (victors models) They also make a Footy called the v-12. which I just completed. My wife just got her kit so I think I will do a build log since I haven’t seen one any where.
Don’t Even think about tearing apart a toy car for its componets. They are not strong enough for your sail servo. Just get the spectrem 5e for $99 and get the servos that will work for about $30 more. If you decide to compete you will be all setl. (you could sell you car you know)
Where abouts are you going to live and don’t say the bay area, a city please.


There are very few boats I would consider for use in salt water, about the only one would be the Santa Barbara, and it is almost 6’ long. Most R/C boats are not completely watertight, and the smaller the boat, the less watertight it is likely to be. Salt water is a much better conductor of electricity than fresh water, and once the radio equipment gets wet, it will likely stop working in either. The difference is that sometimes, if the radio gets wet with fresh water, once it thoroughly dries out it may start to work again (if you’re lucky). With salt water, this almost NEVER happens. Also remember that a boats hull speed is a function of it’s length, and smaller boats won’t be able to achieve enough speed to keep up with currents and tidal flow in most salt water areas. Salt water is also very hard on any metal components of a model boat, which should be stainless steel or brass to resist rust, Aluminum needs to be well anodized, and all metal needs to be thoroughly rinsed with fresh water after exposure to salt water. Even the salty air can cause corrosion if you don’t maintain your boat.

A Footy is not an easy boat to sail because of it’s small size, and it is very sensitive to both dynamic and static balance, so if you don’t enjoy building it yourself, and trying to tweak it to get it right when it performs poorly, it will be more frustration than fun. Another point to consider, is that R/C sailboats aren’t that much fun to sail all by yourself, you need at least one other boat to sail against for there to be much challenge (the more the merrier), so you need to check out what is being sailed in your area before you decide on a particular boat or class.


I can’t really give you a definitive answer. I started with Footys, you can too. I love Footys. Footys can be tremendously frustrating at times compared to other boats though. Because they’re a small boat, small forces and tuning changes have a significant impact of performance. Part of the reason they are so rewarding is overcoming their challenges and sailing successfully. They are a great platform for experimenting too. You may not save much space since so many Footy skippers own multiple Footys.

I almost gave up rc sailing because of Footys. I didn’t know how to sail and figuring out wind direction, sail trim, sail setup, etc on a shifty lake was tough. A borrowed EC12 told me that the changes in the wind was most of my problem and learning to sail was the real issue. For example, a velocity shift can leave you head to wind if you let it. A larger boat will have some momentum to correct your course when the shift disappears. A Footy will stop almost immediately if headed. You need to recognize the situation and react quickly. If you already know how to sail, Footys are great. A larger boat will be more forgiving for a beginner.

A Victoria or MicroMagic are good kits with high performance potential. The RG65 is similar in size but most a scratch built. Building your first sailboat is a learning experience too. Can you possibly locate a rc sailing club? Trying out boats is a great way to learn what you want. Also, if you want to race, you’ll need to sail a class that others race nearby.

Good luck, let us know what you decide.

This being the Footy forum most of you guys seem pretty down on Footies. Here are a couple of points to consider:

  1. If you build the boat right it won’t leak. The idea that smaller boats are harder to keep dry is hogwash.

  2. Footies are great boats for strong winds and waves. I’ve sailed my boats in winds I wouldn’t sail my M Class boat in. Sailing larger boats in whitecaps with waves close set leads to a lot of pounding and course corrections while my Tanto sails merrily up the crests and down the troughs with no complaint.

  3. Building a Footy from plans or a kit is the fastest (and least expensive) way to get a boat on the water short of buying a plastic turnkey boat. If you are at all handy young man this is the way I would go. I built my first fiberglass Marblehead Class boat (and one of the first ones in the US) to my own design when I was 16 so I obviously believe that learning to build is a good skill to acquire. Learning to design boats, and the physics and math that you need to know to understand the process is applicable to many different vocations.

  4. You don’t need a lot of space or fancy power equipment to build a footy. These are kitchen table boats.

  5. The electronics are getting smaller, lighter, stronger, and less expensive all the time. Outfitting a Footy with new electronics and batteries can cost anywhere from $140.00 to $250.00. There are a lot of posts on this forum that debate the merits of different components so do a little reading here before you make any decisions.

If you decide to build a Footy, or you need building questions answered, you can contact me through the e-mail function of this forum and leave me your contact info.

its not that we are down on footy’s. Most every one here likes the footy. but it does sail differently than a boat with a longer waterline. and a footy can be very frustrating to sail. beginner or not… FWIW I love my v-12 and 507. but if I had my way Id sail my Odom or my Soling all the time…

you can use your cars Rx and Tx but you’ll need new servo’s and batty back.

any larger than a footy or a micro magic you will want to invest in servo which has extra travel and more torque than a standard servo.


If we didn’t like Footys, we wouldn’t be on this list. Personally, if it wasn’t for Footys, I doubt that I would have given more than a passing glance to Model Yachts after I gave them up due to lack of space 30 years ago. They are great little boats, but on this and other lists, I have seen it said many times by the so-called “experts” that Footys are not for beginners, but for “experienced modelers” (I don’t necessarily agree with that thinking myself). I do not think that Footys are best suited for use in open salt water. It’s not so much that a Footy will leak more than other boats, it’s just that Footys are smaller and spend more time than most with their decks and hatch seams under water, plus their hulls have less room in the bilge for water to go before getting to the radio components, so they really are “wetter” than most larger boats. All boats that have any kind of hatch and through-deck fittings for the sheets can leak, none can be totally watertight. A larger boat can collect quite a bit of water in it’s bilge before it causes a problem with the radio components. A Footy can not, especially if it is salt water, simply due to lack of space inside a much smaller hull.

Bill Nielsen
Oakland Park, FL USA

I reiterate Bill, I’ve sailed in rougher conditions than most of you ever will and my boats don’t leak. ALL of my boats don’t leak.

I make that a priority because one of the two clubs I am a member of sails on brackish water, a mix between rain runoff and harbor water. Mill Pond is the best pond I have ever sailed on with the best winds and orientation. Okay, I like the San Diego Argonaut’s pond but it was better before they built the America’s Cup Compound at the end. And there are some other places that are nice as well that I’ve enjoyed sailing at.

But my point is that a great location with one caveat is still a great location. If it requires that you build a boat that doesn’t leak, well isn’t that the idea anyway, to keep the water on the outside?

The McRig or Una Rig is a Big advantage over the more complex main & jib Sloop Rig setup for the typical “larger” boat. There are just two many settings for the beginner to get right and get decent performance from a sloop rig. Look at the success of the Sunfish and Laser with simple rigs. Maybe someone can count the adjustments on each and do a comparison. Try to write setup instructions for each and see the differences.

As for costs of building a Footy, if you search the internet, you can find a servo set (rudder & sail) for ~$20. A 2.4 GHz digital radio & receiver for -$50. That leaves $30 for balsa, epoxy, carbon fiber, & some sail/kite material for a complete Footy costing ~$100.

Skippers in the club have built just over 20 “Jim-Bob” Footys in the last 6 months with many of the boats finishing near the top in Florida Regattas.

The simplicity of the Footy for transport, rigging and sailing has driven the fastest growth of our Tanglewood club in its 10 year history.

As for which plans to build first, start simple with a flat bottom boat with a McRig like Brett McCormack’s Bob About 2. As for which kit, Graham over at is close to having a kit with a simple OPUS rig and the total cost is probably not much more than the $100 discussed above.

Footys are a lot like potato chips, you can’t stop at building one. I have personally buildt four (4) in a one year period as I searched for a faster design.

A last note: I do believe like blonds, Footy Skippers have more fun & Regattas are much more relaxed than the larger boat fleets. Collisions are also less costly.

Thank you all so much for all the info.
I have not decided if I will go for a footy or something a little bigger but I think I am leaning toward the K2 footy because I have heard good things about that over the 507. any other suggestions are greatly appreciated.

I wish I could go for a 1 meter sized boat but my dad is not really going for it.

Also I will not be sailing in the bay as much as inside the marina when our boat is docked. So in the maria there will not be huge waves or waves at all(just those little wind ripples).

thanks so much to all!

By K-2, I assume you mean Kittywake 2 which is made by Graham.

Pictures of Graham’s newest boat he calls the Dragon with the yellow OPUS Una Rig sail can be seen at

My boat has the Gold color sail. There are also some photo on this forum titled Sheboygan Footy Fest and also on a TanglewoodMYC Facebook Group.

A kit saves a lot of time searching for parts & I hear good comments from others that have built a kit from Graham.

does the dragon come in a kit?

where do i find it because it is not on the scalesailing website.

My understanding is that he was planning a kit, but best he respond to you directly. I sent him an email, so stay tuned.

He did say the boat was a diaginal fit in the box and narrower, so, in theory it should be faster.

Hi weemann27 and thanks Frank. You can read more about the Dragon project at scroll down past the Sheboygan Footy Fest report and you will find some entries about Dragon. I am currently building one from a test set of laser cut parts so it can be photographed for the instructional CD and writing the text etc. Once this is all done the kit will be ready to go. Wild guess would be 4 to 6 weeks but it’s hard to nail these things down for me. I’m working on it :slight_smile:


Why not - you can sail inter harbor with out any problem and also at Angle Island harbor. Out in the bay a Footy may get swallowed up. The 507 is a good boat but I lean to the MicroYacht. Better hull design and a faster boat.
try I use to live aboard an Islander 32 in Sausalito, Richmond and Berkeley. Great time in our lives. Now 77 and finding Footys about as much as I can handle,